Archives for category: Process

It would seem that it’s all a process, fit two pieces together, figure out how to secure them. Take the next pieces, secure them. Keep going until the entire work is all secured. Take the whole thing apart, stain it and them put it together again. Once I am sure that the entire piece fits, take it apart yet again and glue the pieces as I put the final piece together.

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It’s done, the creation was not nearly as direct a process as it could have been but I am pleased with the outcome. It did turn out to be more of an illustrative piece than an exercise in the beauty of a repeating form and yet, there is a repeating pattern of dots from the molding, to the metal grate, to the die holder, to the delicate row of chicken feathers.

In Memory II is about loss but it is less about any particular loss and more about loss in the abstract.

Although some people might find loss sad, in fact, loss is only a reminder of what you had—or still have. You can easily dwell on a loss or you can rejoice in the fact that you had the opportunity to have: met that person, acquired a possession, heard that song or had the good fortune to have been in good health. The choice is ours to make. Even more important, loss creates a space. It is only when there is space, is there room for something new.

As with all of my work, although contrasts or beauty are integral to my pieces, these Foundlings are more about the unexpected. It is my hope that this wakes us up to all we have and all we have to be grateful for.

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From time to time I use rivets, acorn nuts or bolts as a repeating design element. I suspect that this comes from a deep love of form and texture. Not unlike music, these “notes” add a subtle element that unites a work.

I would like to add these elements in an exact way and yet, they never really line up perfectly. Clearly my skill only takes me so far. I can be disappointed at my limitations but then, I realize that this inexactness adds a kind of warmth to my work. It humanizes it. If I made “perfect” elements, a kind of coldness would set in. This is what separates a human quality from a machine-like quality. This could, of course, just be a rationalization but I can’t dispute the warm quality of these Foundlings.

An art teacher once told me that the difference between a perfect circle and how you draw it, is called style.

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StainGlass_Blog_ComboFinally, after more than two years, the second stained glass window has been completed. Many complications and complexities made its design and creation a long process. For example, since there are many more pieces than the original window, there was more lead cane. More lead cane meant more weight and more weight put pressure on the glass causing some breakage.

As with most things, we never know how long a path we are on or how long a project will take. Unforeseen events or distractions may slow the process but in the end, anything worth doing is worth striving for. I am a believer in effort. Effort is a kind of care and this care has effects. Whether it is a project, or a friend, or a work of art, you can see this effort (or the lack of it) and it can make or break a task. It can also take your breath away. Inspiration is like that and it is what makes life worth living.

And I want to thank Laura Carbone, who built this window. Her patience, skill and artistry made this possible.

This piece, “Gothic Fluke” was another one of those pieces that languished in my studio for years. While working on a new Foundling I wondered what the brackets (to the left and right of the fish bones) would look like on this old, unfinished work. To my surprise, the piece just “woke up”. It came alive. All it needed now was a frame.

I had purchased four of these brackets a couple of years ago at the Brimfield Antique Fair. I had tried to use them with several other pieces and yet, as beautiful as they are, they just didn’t work. You also might recognize them as they were tried on Satori V, in another post. This didn’t work out either, but now, just like that, I am using these brackets on two Foundlings.

I do wish I had a better understanding of my creative process. I know that I am creative and I know that I am able to conjure up this creativity on an almost “as needed” basis,
but I do wonder if a new element “wakes up” a piece or if a new ingredient just opens
my eyes. In the end, it doesn’t matter. It only matters that I am pleased with the creation of a new Foundling.

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I am still so moved by circular designs. What is it about a circle that is both so perfect and yet so humble? In nature, circles are everywhere but a perfect circle in nature is really rather rare. Things can be round but there are almost always imperfections. A perfect circle has a beautiful coldness to it, but the circles found in nature, a hand drawn circle, or the round pieces that I use are bent, dented, or slightly “off”. They have that beautiful circle quality while having a human character that is so much warmer.

I can struggle to make things perfectly circular, or straight, for that matter, when I realize that perfection is more of an ideal. As I have written in the past, it’s a goal in which to aim for but never achieve. In fact, that is where the beauty lies—in that space between the imperfect and the perfect.

I had an art teacher who once said that the difference between a perfect circle and how you draw it is called style.

EasternWisdom_72dpiRGB_IMG_8288I have been working on this piece for quite some time now. It has been a largely frustrating process with lots of fits and starts. I just can’t seem to get this Foundling to be born so I have set out in a new direction, again. I have found a section of a beautiful nautilus shell that inspired me. When I set it on top of a decorative plate I created, unintentionally, a yin yang sign. Simple in execution and beautiful in design, and yet, the overall piece is still missing something.

As I have often said, some pieces practically jump off the workbench in days and other languish for years. Sometimes, after abandoning a piece, I might come across  a new fragment and in an instant, the stubborn piece comes together. It’s a wonderful moment. Other times, it’s just a matter of waiting and trying again later on.

It’s a kind of intuition. A kind of understanding. Working or waiting, stopping or starting. That’s the wisdom of being creative.

Number_2_front_72dpiRGBI have such mixed feelings about social media. On one hand I get that people are no longer limited on how to get public attention. Everyone now has a platform to speak their mind, show their work or seek like-minded people.

On the other hand, this public platform seems more like opening a window onto a crowded street and yelling. Sure people hear you but after awhile, don’t we all just tune all of this out?

That said, I do my part and post an Instagram every few weeks and I do have a monthly Foundling e-mail. Just like a website, it’s less about communicating with the world but more about having a place online. A place that should someone try to find me, they can (if you are reading this then you have already found me). Like most artists I don’t get very excited about posting, but I do it… but I would rather be working on my art.

I have to say that perhaps I should be more open minded about these platforms. I have sold four pieces, including the one above, in the last three months through my email blasts. It’s actually rather humbling as it’s so easy to think that I toil on these Foundlings alone and send out e-mails as if they were a message in a bottle—not likely to be answered. Seems like some of my calls have been answered.

InProgress_LowRes_IMG_8040_2The wait is almost over. This piece, changing over and over, stopping and starting for over a month is finally on the “right” track.

The trick now is to make sure I can build this. The attachment points are mostly understood but invariably, “problems” will still arise and they will have to be worked out, one by one.

I landed on a “dot pattern” motif from the wooden die holder, to the beautiful chicken feathers, to the dot pattern on the decorative brass molding.

I do love using tintypes but I need to be careful. Although they add a kind of nostalgia, these images are very powerful elements that can take attention away from the overall piece. Also, in trying not to be too derivative of Joseph Cornell, I tend to stay away from collage or other photographic elements. The brass flower in combination with the tintype makes for a kind of memorial, not unlike a piece I did years ago called “In Memory”.

Perhaps I will call this “In Memory II”.

 

I used to sketch with a number 2 pencil. There was something about how direct the process was. Hold a pencil, make a mark. There was little thought as to what medium I would finally use or what color I would use if the sketch became a full color drawing or painting.

When making these pieces I am, in a way, still making a “sketch” but the process is not as direct. It’s difficult not to think of attachment points, the materials used or just how fragile a work might be.

Also, when I am sketching, the process is quick. Speed is critical to getting a kind of spontaneity into the drawing. With these assemblages the process is much slower. Place a few items together and wait. Place a few more items together, wait a bit more. This makes it so much more difficult to keep that spontaneity alive. I don’t know if the above “sketch” with be born so I will wait.

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